Douglas, William Orville


Douglas, William Orville
(1898-1981)
   The longest-serving justice on the Supreme Court, William Douglas was born in Maine, Minnesota, but his family moved to Washington, where he attended Whitman College. After briefly teaching in high school, he went to Columbia Law School, where he graduated in 1925. Douglas practiced law for a short time before accepting a teaching position at Yale law school. In 1934, he joined the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and became chairman in 1937. In 1939, he succeeded Louis D. Brandeis on the Supreme Court, where he became a strong defender of First Amendment rights of free speech. With Hugo Black, he opposed several decisions upholding convictions against left-wing groups during the McCarthy period. In 1953, he granted a stay of execution for Ethel and Julius Rosenberg on a technicality relating to their sentence. However, his decision was overruled by Frederick Vinson, and there was a short-lived attempt to impeach Douglas for his action.
   Douglas did not have the impact on the court that he might have because, with Black, he was generally in the minority, and his dissenting opinions were often too hastily written to be memorable. In the 1960s, he found more liberal support in the court, but his colorful personal life (he was divorced three times), support for radical causes, and involvement in a private foundation led to a further but unsuccessful attempt to impeach him in 1970. He was a strong supporter of environmental causes, and in one case he held that inanimate objects such as trees had rights. He retired in 1975.

Historical Dictionary of the Roosevelt–Truman Era . . 2015.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Douglas,William Orville — Douglas, William Orville. 1898 1980. American jurist who served as an associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court (1939 1975). * * * …   Universalium

  • William O. Douglas — William Orville Douglas (16 octobre 1898 – 19 janvier 1980) était un juge de la Cour suprême des États Unis. Il resta à son poste 36 ans et 209 jours ce qui fait de lui le juge ayant eu le plus long mandat à la Cour suprême de toute l histoire du …   Wikipédia en Français

  • William — /wil yeuhm/, n. 1. a word formerly used in communications to represent the letter W. 2. a male given name: from Germanic words meaning will and helmet. * * * (as used in expressions) Huddie William Ledbetter Aberhart William George William… …   Universalium

  • Douglas — /dug leuhs/, n. 1. Sir James ( the Black Douglas ), 1286 1330, Scottish military leader. 2. James, 2nd Earl of, 1358? 88, Scottish military leader. 3. Kirk (Issur Danielovitch Demsky), born 1916, U.S. actor. 4. Lloyd C(assel) /kas euhl/, 1877… …   Universalium

  • Orville — /awr vil/, n. a male given name. * * * (as used in expressions) Douglas William Orville William Orville Frizzell Platt Orville Hitchcock Wright Wilbur and Wright Orville * * * …   Universalium

  • William O. Douglas — William Orville Douglas (* 16. Oktober 1898; † 19. Januar 1980) war ein Richter am US amerikanischen Supreme Court. William O. Douglas, Richter am Obersten Gerichtshof der Vereinigten Staaten …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • William O. Douglas — Infobox Judge name = William O. Douglas imagesize = caption = office = Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court termstart = April 17 1939 termend = November 12 1975 nominator = Franklin Delano Roosevelt appointer = predecessor = Louis …   Wikipedia

  • Orville — (as used in expressions) Douglas, William O(rville) William Orville Frizzell Platt, Orville Hitchcock Wright, Wilbur y Wright, Orville …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • William — (as used in expressions) William Alexander Abbott Aberhart, William George William Russell Amis, Sir Kingsley (William) Ashley, William Henry Ashton, Sir Frederick (William Mallandaine) Barkley, Alben W(illiam) Bartram, William William Allen… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Douglas — I. biographical name John Sholto 1844 1900 8th Marquess & Earl of Queensberry Scottish boxing patron II. biographical name Stephen Arnold 1813 1861 American politician III. biographical name William Orville 1898 1980 American jurist IV.… …   New Collegiate Dictionary

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